Toys 'R' Us plans 115 new stores

January 12, 1994|By Bloomberg Business News

PARAMUS, N.J. -- Toys "R" Us Inc. said it will open 115 new company-owned stores and expand into the Middle East with franchised stores in 1994 as part of the largest expansion program in the company's history.

In addition, the toy company said that it will make an investment of another sort by repurchasing $1 billion of its common stock.

The world's largest children's specialty retailing chain recently created a franchising division to enable it to accelerate the expansion of the Toys "R" Us concept throughout the world. The company said 45 of the 115 company-owned stores would be opened in the United States, while franchise agreements had been reached with operators in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

"We believe that in addition to investing in our ongoing business, the repurchase of Toys "R" Us common stock will increase shareholder value," said Chairman Charles Lazarus. Shares of the Paramus, N.J.-based company yesterday closed up 50 cents, at $38.75, on New York Stock Exchange composite volume of 765,700.

It has been a month of big announcements for Toys "R" Us. On Jan. 3, the company announced that Mr. Lazarus would hand over the company's day-to-day operations to two top executives. The company named Michael Goldstein, 52, chief executive officer and Robert Nakasone, 46, president and chief operating officer on Feb. 1.

Yesterday, Toys "R" Us said it entered into a franchise agreement with Al Futtaim Sons Co. in the United Arab Emirates. The entrepreneurial family will operate Toys "R" Us stores in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait.

A second franchise agreement has been signed with a Saudi Arabian group for stores in that country.

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